Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. – Sagan

Monday, October 31, 2011

“Fabric of the Cosmos” on PBS this Wednesday

NOVA has a fascinating program airing this Wednesday at 9:00 PM that attempts to tackle the mind blowing theories and experiments that aim to unravel the nature of the cosmos and even time itself. This will be a four part series starting with “What is Space?”, followed by “The Illusion of Time”, “Quantum Leap”, and finishing the series with “Universe or Multiverse”.

Set your DVRs so you don’t miss any of it.

Program Description
“The Fabric of the Cosmos,” a four-hour series based on the book by renowned physicist and author Brian Greene, takes us to the frontiers of physics to see how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time, and the universe. With each step, audiences will discover that just beneath the surface of our everyday experience lies a world we’d hardly recognize—a startling world far stranger and more wondrous than anyone expected.

Brian Greene is going to let you in on a secret: We’ve all been deceived. Our perceptions of time and space have led us astray. Much of what we thought we knew about our universe—that the past has already happened and the future is yet to be, that space is just an empty void, that our universe is the only universe that exists—just might be wrong.

Interweaving provocative theories, experiments, and stories with crystal-clear explanations and imaginative metaphors like those that defined the groundbreaking and highly acclaimed series “The Elegant Universe,” “The Fabric of the Cosmos” aims to be the most compelling, visual, and comprehensive picture of modern physics ever seen on television.

Airing November 2nd, 9th, 16th and the 23rd, at 9:00 PM on PBS.

Tony’s note: Just got around to watching this last night on my DVR. Very well done and no expenses spared with visual effects. Probably one of the best visual explanations of what space is and how it behaves when it interacts with matter. For the uninitiated, they get a good idea why gravity behaves the way it does. Also, they delved into topics like the Casimir effect and Higgs’ idea about matter interaction and the search for the Higgs’ boson. Can’t wait for next week’s topic on time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trek’s Future on the Small Screen

The last Star Trek series to grace the small screen was Enterprise, which ended in 2005. But since the mid 80s, we had a pretty good run of Trek series starting off with The Next Generation, through its offshoots, Deep Space 9 and Voyager. Not to mention a healthy dose of Trek films. J.J. Abrams vision of the Trekiverse in 2009′s Star Trek seems to have renewed interest in seeing a new Trek series on television. How likely is it?

Back in 2005, when Enterprise had just ended, Bryan Singer, X-men: First Class producer, pitched a new Trek series. After a brainstorming session with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie and director Robert Meyer Burnett, they pounded out a 25-page series proposal that took place in the year 3000 (that’s over 600 years after TNG). It would have been called Star Trek: Federation and was envisioned as more of a space opera with longer story arcs. More like DS9 than the episodic TNG. Other proposed details included same continuity with the TOS/TNG/DS9/Voyager timeline, the series would reflect a parallel to both the decline of the Roman Empire and the current state of the American Empire suggesting a grittier possibly darker BSG-like series, a new threat called “The Scourge”, a new USS Enterprise, and one of the central characters would’ve been called Commander Alexander Kirk, who has a “checkered past”.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Seth MacFarlane wants to reboot Star Trek

He might be the right man for the job. Maybe. I’m a big fan of his animated series so I know that Seth has a soft spot for Star Trek. There have been quite a bit of gags based off Trek, both TOS and TNG. Next Generation actors have also done voice overs for their characters on Family Guy. If you doubt his admiration for the series read what he had to say in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter:

MacFarlane is particularly eager to reboot one of his favorite franchises, Star Trek, for TV. “I don’t know who would give me the keys to that car,” he jokes, acknowledging that the films have been so profitable for Paramount that he isn’t so sure they have a lot of interest in getting back into the TV business. “But I’d love to see that franchise revived for television in the way that it was in the 1990s: very thoughtful, smartly written stories that transcend the science fiction audience.

Is he the right guy for the job? I don’t know for certain, but it would be exciting to see a new Trek series written and produced by a real fan, someone who cares about the Star Trek universe.

Interesting bit of trivia, Seth was on two episodes of Enterprise, playing an engineer named Rivers under Trip Tucker in the Episodes “The Forgotten” and “The Affliction”. Also, he and Denise Crosby, who played Tasha Yar on TNG, are distant cousins.

In the Family Guy episode "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven," all main TNG cast members voiced themselves.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Firefly returning to the silver screen?

Back in February, StarPulse reported that there were rumors that Firefly would be returning to television screens with new episodes. Since then, the Science channel has been airing reruns of the cult show in order, something FOX never bothered to do the first time around.

Actually, truth be told, it wasn’t a rumor. Nathan Fillion, who played Mal on the series, said if he had $300 million, he would buy the rights to the series and produce episodes himself.

Some fans wanted to help Nathan by kicking him a few bucks; read about it here. There is still hope, right?

Friday, September 9, 2011

45 Years of Trek

My first Trek Experience was with the Original Series when I was 10 years old, and since then I was hooked. In fact, it wasn’t until the premier of The Next Generation that I became a full on Trekkie. I remember reading about the new series on the back of a serial box while getting ready for school. There were factoids about the series and some photos of the ship and crew. but what really stood out was a large photo of Jean Luc Picard posing with Dr. Crusher and Wesley. I cut out that cereal box back and kept it for as long as I could remember it, but finally losing track of it several years later in a move. But that was my first TNG memory, and it was before the series actually premiered on TV. Going back and re-watching the whole series, I’m amazed at how much new stuff I pick up after the initial viewing of it.

Some links you’ll enjoy:

Cereal Box promo with Troi (Marina Sirtis), Wesley (Will Wheaton), and Riker (Jonathan Frakes).

Trek Infographic. Source:
The entire history of Star Trek is in this timeline infographic.

Ars Explores 45 years of Star Trek

Wired: Liftoff for the Starship Enterprise (orig. Sep. 8, 2008)

14 things you may not know about Star Trek

Why Star Trek has stayed so popular.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Star Trek TNG is remastered for HD

The Digital Bits has confirmed from CBS that Star Trek: The Next Generation will be remastered for HD which in turn will provide a great source for a Blu-Ray release. Cost was always a concern, but it seems like the cost to do the remaster has finally been justified. Apparently TNG was all shot on 35mm film so the process isn’t as involved as it would be for series filmed in SD digital. Most of the effort is going to be in reproducing the special effects which will have to be done frame-by-frame, a time consuming process. CBS has been pretty tight lipped about this, so you’ll likely only have a little time before the release to pre-order.

Anthony Pascale from had this to say back in 2010:

All three seasons of the originalStar Trek are now available in HD, but what about TNG? In a response to a question about TNG on Blu-ray, CBS Consumer Products VP John Van Citters told the crowd in Las Vegas that releasing Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray was much more “problematic” than the original Star Trek, due to how the TNG original effects shots were composited, and how that makes the transfer to HD “incredibly difficult without making them look awful.” However, he also said that there is “a lot of conversations going on” within CBS on how to convert TNG to HD, and Van Citters expressed optimism noting “It is being worked on and I expect it will happen, it is just a technical challenge.”

Following his talk, I confirmed with Van Citters that even though he is optimistic that the challenges will be met, as of now there is no specific plan or budget for the project within CBS. So this is still something that is a long-term project.

My hope is that eventually, we may get the other series in HD, specifically DS9 and Voyager. Enterprise was already shot in HD. You can already view all of the Trek series on Netflix, except for DS9 which will be available on October 1st.

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